Tortilla soup is a year-round favorite in Texas. Here is our family recipe.
6 Large garlic cloves, peeled
½ Large yellow onion
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. cumin powder
2 Tsp. chili powder
2 Bay leaves
1 Large celery stock, thinly sliced
2 Quarts chicken stock
1 Can Del Monte Summer Crisp corn
2 Large rotisserie chicken breasts, chopped
Salt to taste
1 Avocado, cubed
1 Cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
12 Corn tortillas, thinly sliced
Purée garlic and onion, then pour into a soup pan. Add cilantro, tomato sauce and paste, cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, celery and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, adding a little water if it gets too thick. Note: I don’t sauté the garlic and celery because I don’t want to add additional oil. I use homemade chicken stock, and that has some fat in it already.
While the soup is simmering, fry the tortilla strips and drain on paper towels. I fry 12 because we like a lot of them in our soup, plus any extra strips can be stored in a zip bag to have with leftover soup.
Add the corn and chicken, and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. I like to chop the chicken in reasonably large chunks. However, the recipe also works well if you shred the chicken. Salt to taste. This is a very forgiving recipe, so adjust the garlic, cilantro, cumin and chili powder to your preference.
Remove the bay leaf. Ladle soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips, cheese and avocado. I often add chopped peppers, a squeeze of lime juice or green onion for garnish. Enjoy!